Round 20 Preview – League One Men’s


Our competition leaders looking to return to winning ways, a six pointer towards the bottom and a top five clash.

There’s plenty to look forward too in round 20 of the FNSW League One Men’s competition this weekend.

Check out our rundown of the upcoming fixtures below.

Match of the Round: Hills United FC v Rydalmere Lions FC; Saturday 17 June, 7pm, Landen Stadium

Previous Meeting: Rydalmere Lions FC 0-3 Hills United FC

Our match of the round takes us to Sydney’s North-West as Hills United look to bounce back from a tough week when they host Rydalmere Lions at Landen Stadium.

A rare blemish in an otherwise impressive season, Hills United took one point from back-to-back games with the other teams in the top three. Going down to Bonnyrigg White Eagles mid-week, they could only take a point from their round 19 game with SD Raiders meaning their lead is cut down to 4 points at the top.

Opposed to the form of their hosts, Rydalmere Lions have secured much needed victories in two of their last three games. Those victories against Hakoah and Bankstown City acting as a stabiliser on their season as they eye more scalps in the next 11 games.

So where will this one be won? It would be amiss for us to not mention the home form of the hosts ahead of this one. Hills winning all nine of their home games this season. While Rydalmere Lions have won four of their nine matches away from home.

On the field, the players too watch out for at Hills are none other than captain Glenn Kelshaw and Mitchell Smith. Kelshaw inspirational is leading his side while Mitchell Smith has been a constant goal scorer.

While for the visitors, keep an eye on Ahmad Taleb who scored a brace last weekend, Taleb joined by quite a few youngsters who are beginning to make a name for themselves.

An intriguing clash awaits us at Landen Stadium, can Hills United claim a season double over Rydalmere Lions in this one?

Central Coast United FC v Blacktown Spartans FC; Saturday 17 June, 5pm, Pluim Park

Previous Meeting(s): Central Coast United FC 2-4 Blacktown Spartans FC (Cup), Blacktown Spartans FC 2-1 Central Coast United FC (League)

In desperate need of a victory, Central Coast United return home in search of their second home win of the season against Blacktown Spartans.

Including a cup defeat to this week’s opponents, it’s been nine games since Central Coast United emerged victorious from a fixture. And as much as this reporter is hoping for a Pirates win to change these sentences up, stormy waters await them this weekend once again.

Last weekend, they tasted defeat to Northern Tigers by another hefty margin. Adam Woodbine looked to give them a lifeline on the half hour, but they then conceded three minutes later. Maybe a return to Pluim will be the boost they need here?

They face a Blacktown Spartans side looking to bounce back after a disappointing performance last weekend. Sitting in 6th position with eleven games remaining, a win here is important to keep pace with the teams above.

As mentioned beforehand though, improvement will be needed though as they stole a point from Dulwich Hill despite a disappointing performance. Daniel Durkin will be a big threat in this one after a brace last weekend. They’ve won both a cup game and league meeting over Central Coast United this season.

Bankstown City FC v Inter Lions FC; Saturday 17 June, 7pm, Jensen Park

Previous Meeting: Inter Lions FC 1-4 Bankstown City FC

Another side looking to improve their home record, Bankstown City welcome Inter Lions to Jensen Park in round 20 action.

Four defeats in a row, Bankstown City are in the middle of a turbulent period in season 2023. Sitting in 11th position after 19 rounds, they could be forgiven for nervously looking over their shoulder at teams below.

Last weekend, it was defeat to Rydalmere Lions away from home by a two-goal margin. Scoring just one goal in the past 180 minutes of action while conceding five, there is work to be done at both ends ahead of this one. They came away victorious from the first encounter between the two sides back in March.

Another three-game week is set to test the visitors Inter Lions. As a result, their league form has taken a small hit as they sit in 8th position on 28 points, winless in their past three league games including a draw with St George FC last weekend.

However, dismissing the quality that they have is a dangerous game as they have booked a spot in the national stages of the Australia Cup and a Waratah Cup semi-final tonight against Sydney United. Despite priorities possibly being focused elsewhere, they will be a dangerous proposition here.

Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC v Canterbury Bankstown FC; Saturday 17 June, 7pm, Bonnyrigg Sports Club

Canterbury Bankstown FC 1-1 Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC

A soaring Bonnyrigg White Eagles host Canterbury Bankstown as they continue their push towards the top.

Last week was one we could look back on as a pivotal one in the competition with Bonnyrigg White Eagles securing a maximum six points in two tough fixtures in the space of four days. Backing up from a victory over league leaders Hills United midweek, they overcame a tough Hakoah challenge last Saturday.

Those two wins bringing them to within four points of Hills United above them. Mark Rodic and Maksim Jez combining for the first goal against Hakoah before Emmanuel Gonzalez wrapped up the points from the spot.

Their opposition Canterbury Bankstown are more than capable of playing spoiler to their hosts in this one. Two victories in a row have them sitting just six points behind Bonnyrigg in fifth place. With a win here potentially livening up the top two race.

Last weekend, a goal in first half injury time well and truly changed the game against Mounties Wanderers. Jairo Torne Fernandez very much a player to watch out for approaching this one after a brace last weekend. They took a point away from their first meeting with Bonnyrigg this season.

St George FC v Hakoah FC; Saturday 17 June, 7pm, Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre

Previous Meeting: Hakoah FC 1-2 St George FC

Another tough ask awaits Hakoah FC as they travel south to play St George FC who have a good home record in 2023.

The return to home comforts comes at a good time for St George FC who have a considerably better record when playing at Rockdale Ilinden this season. Picking up just the one win in their past four, they have slipped to 4th position.

Last weekend they shared the points with Inter Lions at Majors Bay, the match following a similar pattern to recent form. The Saints just unable to find that final decisive pass, helping that cause will be the re-emergence of Conor Quilligan from injury making two appearances off the bench recently.

Hakoah FC on the other hand will be hoping their form doesn’t return to the norm. After a round eighteen victory over Macarthur, they went down narrowly to Bonnyrigg White Eagles last weekend, their 6th defeat in their past seven games.

There were signs that they have rounded a corner though, making life difficult for their highflying visitor’s last weekend. Finley Hayhurst found the back of the net in the first half, their fourth goal in two games (a considerable improvement on recent form). They will be looking to overturn a first-round defeat to St George.

Dulwich Hill FC v Northern Tigers FC; Saturday 17 June, 7pm, Arlington Oval

Previous Meeting: Northern Tigers FC 0-1 Dulwich Hill FC

Goals are on the menu as two free scoring sides in Dulwich Hill and Northern Tigers lock horns at Arlington Oval.

Both sides have scored nine goals each in their past two fixtures, so you won’t be short of entertainment if you head to Arlington Oval this weekend.

Morale will be high for the hosts after a couple of impressive results back-to-back. A point away from home against Blacktown Spartans could arguably have been more, this coming after a thumping victory over Central Coast United the week before.

Jamison Power, Harry Browell and Mark Younes all found the back of the net in the second third of the game to give them a lead. An unfortunate concession in the final ten minutes meaning they had to share the points.

It’s safe to say that Northern Tigers have thrown caution to the wind in their last few performances scoring over four goals a game. Yep, the Tigers are purring in attack which has led them to three straight victories.

Sitting back in the top half of the table, they triumphed over Central Coast United last weekend. The key to that victory being their fast start scoring twice in the opening five minutes. Not short on motivation Adam Hett’s side will look to overturn a loss to Dulwich Hill on the first go-around.

Macarthur Rams FC v SD Raiders FC; Saturday 17 June, 7pm, Lynwood Park

Previous Meetings: SD Raiders FC 2-1 Macarthur Rams FC

It’s another south-west Sydney derby as Macarthur Rams welcome SD Raiders to Lynwood Park, Saturday evening.

A second victory in four games has seen Macarthur Rams put a bit of distance between them and the bottom two sides. Sitting on 23 points, they find themselves nine points above the danger area, giving them not much to lose in this one.

Last weekend they secured an important victory away from home against Dunbar Rovers. The big positive from that performance being the return of Anthony Proia to the scoresheet. Breaking a three-game run without a goal.

This one looks to be set up very nicely with SD Raiders now needing a victory to keep pace with the top two. Three points behind rivals Bonnyrigg White Eagles in 2nd position, they shared the points with Hills United last weekend.

Their winning streak now turning into an unbeaten one, Klime Setkutkoski and Mihael Marcic gave them a lead in the first half before they withstood a fair amount of pressure after the break. A repeat result from their fixture earlier in the year would be ideal for Goran Ljuboja’s side.

Mounties Wanderers FC v Dunbar Rovers FC; Sunday 18 June, 3pm, Cook Park (Mt Pritchard)

Previous Meeting: Dunbar Rovers FC 2-0 Mounties Wanderers FC

In the context of the season, this game is massive as 15th placed Mounties Wanderers host 14th placed Dunbar Rovers in a rare Sunday afternoon kick off.

The true definition of a six pointer as both sides look to avoid the bottom two, Mounties Wanderers will need to overturn the poorer form coming in with four points from their last five fixtures. Last weekend they did go close however in defeat to Canterbury Bankstown.

They started that one with an intensity early taking a two-goal lead with Shun Maeta and Bruno Pivato finding the back of the net. Those two important once again here if they are to get a much-needed victory.

Dunbar Rovers will be just as desperate for victory though, sitting three points above their opponents, they have lost their last two games at the hands of Bonnyrigg White Eagles and Macarthur Rams in recent weeks.

Creating multiple chances in the first half, they struggled to find the back of the net and were made to pay by the Rams. Olivier Beltran-Woodward found the back of the net in the second half to bring them back into it, but they couldn’t salvage a point. They won the previous meeting between the two back in March.

By Justin Smith